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$7,000 missing from county tax rolls in Spafford

— Adams sent a resignation to the town board via email after the issue was discovered, telling Stevens she wasn’t competent to do the job, he said. A formal, written resignation was requested and later obtained by the board.

Executive session leak

When the town board originally went into executive session to discuss the matter of the missing tax money, Stevens said he explained to the board’s two newest members — Chris Fesko and Louis Hanlon, both elected in March — what executive session is and that under state law nothing discussed can leave the room. Matters discussed during a closed-door session regarding a personnel matter that leave executive session could open the board up to a lawsuit as it is a violation of the discussed person’s privacy rights.

According to Stevens, Hanlon left the meeting and by the next morning news of the missing tax funds had reached local coffee shops.

Hanlon admitted to leaving the meeting, but claims it was because he didn’t agree with how the matter was being handled in-house with a forensic auditor, instead of being turned over to authorities for an investigation.

“We [Stevens and Hanlon] just had our difference in opinion,” Hanlon said. “I thought it might be a good idea to turn it over to the district attorney’s office.”

Hanlon said he called the district attorney and spoke with someone in the office of the Commissioner of Finance, but maintained those were the only people he spoke to regarding the matter once he left the meeting.

“Somehow it got out that I called the district attorney’s office,” he said.

With news of the missing tax money circulating around town, Stevens decided to address the issue in open session after the town’s budget hearing Thursday Nov. 8. “This was executive session business,” Stevens told attendees. “We still could be sued, so don’t be surprised if we are.”

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